Zero tolerance: understanding the physiology of the Crabtree-negative yeast Pichia kluyveri through whole-cell modeling

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • Zero tolerance: understanding the physiology of the Crabtree-negative yeast Pichia kluyveri through whole-cell modeling
  • University Graduate

Do you like to carry out fundamental research in an industrially relevant context? Are you interested in biotechnology, microbial cell physiology and would you like to work in a multidisciplinary team of experimentalists, theoreticians and modellers? Please apply at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

FTE: 0.8 - 1

Job description

In the life sciences we often make use of model organisms to study their genetics, metabolism or physiology in great detail. However, many biotechnological applications use industrial strains or species that are much more poorly characterized. In this PhD project, we will translate knowledge from the model yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae to the industrial yeast Pichia kluyveri. We ask why Saccharomyces is Crabtree positive (makes ethanol) and Pichia is not. We do this by combining physiological characterisations with genome-scale metabolic modeling. We will work closely together with an industrial partner.

Your duties
  • perform research and write publications as part of your thesis
  • contribute to the teaching of the group
  • contribute to tasks related to the organisation and well being of the group


  • a Master's degree in biotechnology, biophysics, systems biology or equivalent that that prepared you (to learn) to do both experimental work and computer modeling
  • motivation, curiosity, independence and a drive to make the best out of your PhD
  • good communication skills

What are we offering?

A challenging PhD position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2,395 (PhD) per month during the first year and increases to €3,061 (PhD) per month during the fourth year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 0.8 FTE.

The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for a duration of 4 years.
Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:
  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • contribution to commuting expenses
  • optional model for designing a personalized benefits package
  • discounts on collective insurances (healthcare- and car insurance)

About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavour – from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 26,000 students. We employ over 4,600 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

The Faculty of Science
The Faculty of Science inspires researchers and students to find sustainable solutions for complex societal issues. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to medicines and from molecules to the moon: our teaching and research programmes cover the full spectrum of the natural sciences. We share knowledge and experience with leading research institutes and industries, both here in the Netherlands and abroad.

Working at the Faculty of Science means working with students, PhD candidates and researchers, all with a clear focus on their field and a broad view of the world. We employ more than 1,250 staff members, and we are home to around 6,000 students.



Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until 28 August, 2020. 

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: Prof. dr. Bas Teusink
Position: Project leader
Telephone: 020-5989435

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